Beneath the Window

Beneath the Window

David Tillman

©2023 - All rights held by the author


Where the hands met atop a clock. 

A dark, Baltimore City block. 

Nestled in his apartment bed, awakened by a sound below. 

Edgar startled rose to query, the soft coughing noise so eerie. 

His body still somewhat weary, pulled back the curtain nice and slow. 

Which revealed the streetlight’s glow. 


Beneath the light a ghastly stench. 

A man upon a broken bench. 

Under a sign that once marked a bus stop abandoned long ago. 

The man’s clothes were old and tattered, in a cart rusted and battered, 

His earthly belongings gathered, as his breath vaped with every blow. 

It was he that coughed below. 


That bus line hasn’t run in years, 

Edgar thought as he looked and peered, 

At the vagabond beneath his second-floor apartment window, 

Perplexed at the man still waiting, Edgar paced, began debating, 

He even started contemplating, telling the man he should go. 

Though hesitant to let him know. 


The man checked his wrist marking time,  

Although he had no watch he mimed, 

Straphanger waiting on a bench, for a bus that would never show.  

Impatient his fingers tapping, the constant click, click and clacking, 

Irked Edgar blow by incessant blow, 

And Edgar planned to let him know. 


Starting with a passive approach, 

Delicate was the subject broached, 

Edgar opened his window wide as frustration began to grow. 

Clearing his throat to bring attention, also to release his tension, 

Edgar shouldn’t even have to mention, what he felt the man should know. 

Out the window he expressed his woes. 


“Excuse me sir,” Edgar bellowed, 

“I’m sure you’re a decent fellow, 

But I’m finding it hard to sleep, with your tapping and coughs below. 

And while we are on the matter, and already engaged in chatter,  

There is one important factor, that’s important for you to know, 

Alas, your bus will never show.” 


The man ignored Edgar’s warning,  

he didn’t find it alarming. 

In fact, the man upped the ante, and began singing sad and low. 

The man slowly turned as he sung, awkward the way his head was hung, 

His gaze on Edgar as he hummed, as he rocked and swayed to and fro. 

Mocking Edgar with dance and show. 


Edgar was now vexed and angry,  

“Enough of this man and frankly, 

If he has no concern for me, then to the police I must go!” 

Edgar quickly picked up the phone, to his dismay it had no tone, 

Outside he heard a ghostly moan, a cough now louder full of woe. 

A sound Edgar wished wasn’t so. 


Edgar may have been too eager, 

The man once meek, weak, and meager, 

Now stood at least a foot taller, his back straighter, the man did grow. 

“This cannot be,” Edgar exclaimed, I don’t think this man is the same, 

As the one with the mangy frame, that did mock me moments ago. 

The man looked up painfully slow. 


Please come hither the man motioned, 

His finger closed and opened, 

Now silent as the fog rolled in, the man’s black hollowed eyes did show. 

There was something supernatural, that is beyond things rational, 

A fact that’s unsurpassable, that was no man that sat below. 

He closed the curtain nice and slow. 


No hope of returning to sleep, 

After the haunting of this creep, 

He whispered, “Is that man alive,” in response a voice answered “No.” 

Shaken to his core, Edgar cried, with no one around to confide, 

“How is it this man hath replied, I thought I whispered very low.” 

Edgar pondered how he could know. 


Edgar dared look out the window, 

But the moans reached a crescendo, 

Daring to take another look, in the distance there was a glow. 

Through his fear he spotted a light, a familiar shine of headlights, 

The gleam broke through the foggy night, this was Edgar’s one chance to go. 

Edgar ran to the street below. 


Perhaps he’d flag this person down. 

Edgar cautiously looked around. 

Now that he had raced to the street, the man was no longer below. 

Where could the man have gone that fast, the source of him being harassed, 

he looked to see if he had passed, but there was no sign of his foe. 

Just the headlights approaching glow. 


Wait a second, this could not be. 

My eyes must be deceiving me. 

It was a bus from long ago the tires screeched and squeaked and slowed. 

How is it this bus could be here, this bus line has been down for years, 

Its reappearance was unclear, with a hiss the door opened slow.  

The driver said “It’s time to go.” 


“Sir I think you are mistaken.” 

Edgar quipped while clearly shaken. 

“Not in need of transportation, farewell sir you are free to go. 

But, however, before you leave, I would be a bit more relieved,  

If your memory might retrieve, another man moments ago. 

Perhaps in your bus headlight’s glow.” 


“There’s no other man here tonight, 

This line runs on occasions right. 

One passenger is on my list, sent from the one who looks below.” 

A cough made Edgar turn around, and from his window looking down, 

With a sickle and blackened gown, the man, Death, sung a dirge so slow.  

He motioned for Edgar to go. 


Without stepping onto the bus, 

There was nothing else to discuss. 

Edgar was already in his seat; the bus began to move and go. 

A tear rolled down Edgar’s pale cheek, this final bus ride seemed so bleak, 

To Death, Edgar was not unique, a spirit that died long ago. 

Haunting people from his window.